At 91, Spock (Dr. Spock on Parenting, 1988, etc.) offers his twilight thoughts on American society—and they're not happy ones. Although Spock's jabs come from the political left, his diagnosis is not unlike that of social conservatives like William Bennett. Among his points: The unraveling of family cohesiveness is a major cause of the country's social ills; there is a ``progressive coarsening of the society's attitude toward love and sexuality, which is further cheapened and exploited by television, films and popular music.'' But Spock also argues for better day-care facilities so that single motherhood needn't sentence both parent and child to poverty. He also discusses racial and gender discrimination. At heart, the old doctor is battling against a bottom-line, instrumental valuation of human life, an obsession with material riches rather than an appreciation of emotional richness.
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